How Companies Learn to Adapt Products in Global Markets

Fast-Food Chains in Asia Cater Menus to Customers (USA Today)

Adapting Products in Global MarketsMarketing on a global scale is almost never easy.  The efforts and costs required in establishing a marketing base in foreign countries can be significant.  This often means only the largest firms become full-fledged global marketers.  While the Internet is helping make all companies visible throughout the world, to be truly a global player requires much more than a website and a FedEx or UPS shipping account.

Instead, companies looking to go global must invest significant capital, manpower and time if they want to compete in foreign markets.  For marketers, this includes gaining a deep understanding of the markets they are entering.  And, this is no simple task as each country is different and the marketing decisions needed to reach customers in each country may be different.

While expanding beyond a home market is risky, for marketers that become global players the rewards are often well worth the effort as foreign markets offer new opportunities for growing a business.  Additionally, for other marketers, becoming a global player is a necessity if the marketer wants to stay in business especially if the marketer’s home market is showing signs of slow growth.

This story looks at how marketers are embracing globalization in the Asian market by painting a nice picture of what companies, such as McDonalds, General Mills and Pizza Hut, are doing from a customer research side to make sure sales continue to grow.  While the story looks only at examples in the Asian market, the overall ideas presented here are fundamental to virtually all global markets.

In the past, most of what Western companies sold in Asia were the same products offered in the U.S., with “very superficial … cosmetic changes,” says David Tse, an international marketing professor at the University of Hong Kong. But as China’s economic might has grown, so has American companies’ willingness to fundamentally revamp their menus in Asia. “China has become too big to ignore,” says Tse.

Should marketers expect the need for product adaption to exist across all types of consumer markets or is this primarily limited to certain markets such as consumer food products?

Image by Cresny

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